tv BBC World News America PBS December 16, 2013 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
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>> and now, "bbc world news america." >> this is "bbc world news america" reporting from washington. the u.n. launches its biggest humanitarian appeal ever to help those affected by the fighting in syria. we're on the ground in damascus. >> to end the humanitarian crisis, the gross abuses of humanitarian law, it will take a political solution. and a pleak through of that kind is nowhere -- and a breakthrough of that kind is nowhere in sight. >> a u.s. judge says the n.s.a.'s mass collection of phone records is likely unconstitutional, adding to an already heated debate. nd tonight we look back on the oscar-winning work and fierce rivalry with her sister.
>> welcome to our viewers on public television in america and also around the globe. the united nations today launched an appeal for syria. and it is the largest amount of money ever requested for victims of a single conflict. last week we reported on the desperate situation of syrian refugees who have fled to lebanon, but the situation for millions of people inside syria is even more precare yowls. -- precarous. our chief correspondent is in damascus and we have that story. >> syria's war is now a battle for bread. they've lost their homes, jobs, dignity and survived on u.n. handouts. they have to feed 16 children and grandchildren. they used to live here. the now held by the rebels, cut off by the government. >> my brother, sisters, friends are still there.
they can't leave and they don't have any food. >> this has also been under siege for months. the bb managed to obtain these -- bbc managed to be a dane these pictures. markets with only radishes for sale. and in these pictures, starving people march towards military check points, calling for the siege to end. his is the response. food is a weapon in this war, now the government tells us they'll finally let u.n. aid through. >> we have spoken to mrs. amos and we have told her there will more access, more cooperation, particularly after the new achievements by the syrian armed forces. >> so does that mean you are only allowed to reach those areas where your forces have
prevailed militarily? >> no, i can assure you it will go to all syrians who are in need. >> the government blames rebels for the siege. this week rebel commanders across the suburbs made an urgent plea for help. this is their pledge, to protect aid convoys and ensure relief reaches civilians. confidential u.n. documents leaked to the bbc show the scale of this crisis. 2 1/2 million syrians are now stuck in besieged or hard-to-reach areas. a quarter million are under siege by government troops, tens of thousands by rebel forces. it's a huge cry sills. we asked the u.n. if they believe this will now change. >> the united nations could go to all areas of syria. as i have requested. so the team here will explore exactly what that means in terms of our ability to go to the hard-to-reach areas and the
besieged areas too. >> do you really believe this promise? >> it has very much been one of the priorities for us. if we are able to get to those areas, and indeed in my conversation with the prime minister and with the deputy prime minister, they said that they would work with us to ensure that people were reached. >> the government's promise comes as it makes military gains. a strong hold of rebels linked to al qaeda, the government insists this is a war against terrorism. and their confidence grows that the west will eventually accept that. any break through to ease the suffering of syrian civilians is welcome. but to end the humanitarian crisis, the gross abuses of humanitarian law, it will take a political solution. and a breakthrough of that kind is nowhere in sight. >> well, for more on what can be done to help the people inside syria, i spoke a short time ago with lee in it mass
cuss. how difficult is it for -- damascus. how difficult is it for aid agencies working inside syria to get information about what people in those besieged areas need? >> it is an impossible task for aid agencies working here in syria. one aid agency official said to me that the conditions that they're facing here in terms of the kind of access they get, the number of visas they're allowed to have, the number of nongovernmental agencies being allowed to enter syria, is back to cold war times. they say this is one of their biggest operations but the resources they have here are nothing compared to even crises in other parts of the world where the aid budgets are much smaller but they do say they've seen some new cooperation, some new openness from the part of the syrian government. and in some areas, even able to obtain some rare cooperation between government troops and opposition forces to let aid
through. it's a continuing struggle. they say they're making progress, but it still isn't keeping up with the scale of the depths of this catastrophe. >> what was your reading of amos' body language? do you think she trusts the syrian government now to let them into these difficult areas? >> she has a very difficult task. she's been coming in and out of damascus and of course not just with the syrian government, she talks to all parties to this conflict. she's urging syrian government about the urgency of reaching all syrians in need, including -- we had documents leaked to us that 2.5 million syrians live in what's described as besieged areas or hard-to-reach areas. she emphasizes to the syrian government, she says, you constantly emphasize that you're responsible for all your people and these are your people too. so the last time she went into a closed meeting of the u.n. security council, she did
report progress saying they were getting more visas, there was more cooperation and this visit that she made this weekend when we last saw her, she said she was hearing things she hadn't heard before. and we heard them as well. from these two government ministers we spoke to who said they will now give greater access to those besieged areas. and we also saw statements from rebel commanders around it mass cuss. whether or not -- damascus. whether or not they'll be able to achieve the kind of cooperation, the kind of openness, the kind of -- there will have to be cooperation as well, some kind of liaison between the government and the opposition. it's a huge, huge challenge but it's time to begin making progress on those promises because lives are at stake and people are starving. just miles from where i'm speaking to you here in damascus. >> ok, let's hope that can happen i -- that can actually happen. thanks very much. a u.s. judge ruled today that the national security agency program that collects massive amounts of data about american
telephone calls is almost certainly unconstitutional. in the decision he wrote this, i cannot imagine a more indiscriminant and orbtrary invasion than this systemic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on . rtually every single citizen analyzing it without judicial approval. for more on the ruling and what it means, i spoke a short time ago with the former general counsel for the n.s.a. were you surprised think about case today? >> i was a little. it's a result that is not inconceivable but the tone was deeply confrontational, almost celebrity are atory. and that was a bit of a surprise. >> how much of a blow is it to the n.s.a.'s program of collecting these telephone call datas? >> this is the opinion of one district judge. and you can find a district judge in america who will say almost anything. it's s conservative and
a long and detailed opinion. so it will pose a real burden for the u.s. government when it takes it up on appeal to overcome. it's certainly overcomeble. but it means this issue is going to get litigated and is going to be difficult for the government for some months or even years to come. >> we should be clear that while that appeal process by the u.s. government is going through, the n.s.a. doesn't have to stop its surveillance program. >> that's right. and on the other hand, the program is also under review in congress. congress could pass a law that changed the program. if it doesn't renew the program next year, it will end on its own terms. so, there are a number of perils for the program in the next year or two. >> we were saying earlier, this case before the judge has brought together a rather odd
assortment of people who are critical in america of the n.s.a. program. >> yeah. the two wings of both parties are deeply libertarian in hue. >> left and right. >> exactly. so you can always get people on the left to resonate to the aclu, but in the second term of a democratic administration, you can also get many people on the right to do the same. >> i want to ask your reaction to a comment that was made by an n.s.a. investigator on cbs' "60 minutes" last night about the future prospects of edward snowden >> given the potential damage to national security, what was your thought on taking a beal d? >> -- taking a deal b? >> it's worth having a conversation about. i would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured and my bar for those assurances would be very high.
it would be more than just an assertion on his part. >> your former general counsel for the u.s., -- n.s.a., is there a case being made for giving edward snowden amnesty if he were to stop releasing documents? >> there's a case but it's very thin. it's true he's with held a lot documents and at least glen greenwald has threatened they'll be released if something unspecified bad happens. but the description of how those documents were released suggests that it may not be entirely within snow den's capacity -- snowden's capacity to pull them back. so i doubt that this ever could be made to work. >> ok. thanks for coming in. i should point out the white house of course has dismissed this proposition as well. thanks very much for joining us. and a quick look at other news from around the world. president of south sudan says his troops have foiled an attempted coup after fighting in the capital. the fighting forced some
residents to seek refuge at a u.n. base. the president blamed the violence on soldiers loyal to his former department twhoy is from a smaller trie tribe but one of the accused plotters denied trying to stage a coup. as angry demonstrators demand closer ties to europe, ukraine's embattled president will meet the russian president in moscow tomorrow. in this tug of war between east and west, the meeting will anger protesters in kiev but not everyone in ukraine shares their pro-europe position. we've traveled not far from the russian border and found a very different point of view. >> they may have said good-bye, symbolic iev, a break from the past. but in eastern ukraine, the famous russian revolutionary is standing tall.
in the city, there are lots of lenins, but no barricades, no protest camps. russia is close by. the european union feels very distant. ask valentina what she thinks of pro-europe protesters in the capital and you'll hear nothing but criticism. she fears that closer ties with the e.u. would put up prices it nd make her life harder. >> those protectors -- protesters are fools. if i was the president i would chase them off the square. then i would unite ukraine with russia and with putin. the e.u. would just knock us for all we've got. we'd get nothing in return. >> across town at the locomotive factory, they too re looking east, not west. hardly surprising, when you consider who buys all their rains.
>> the only market we have at this moment. >> it's here in eastern ukraine where you'll find the company's major industries, biggest factories, so big in fact they're like cities within a city. traditionally russia has been their main market. and that's why people here don't want to damage those economic ties with moscow. >> that's why the city council has been recruiting residents to go to kiev, to support the president and to stop what they see as a euro coup. the stakes are high. the mayor warns that ukraine could split into two countries. >> my biggest fear is that in , there are so forces at work trying to divide this country between east and
west. >> ukraine continues to be pulled in two directions. so far it notice square has been the focus of -- independence square has been the focus of attention. now the east wants its voice heard. >> a country divided over europe and russia. you're watching "bbc world news america." still to come on tonight's program, one year after legalizing can bus, some in washington state are celebrating while other unlikely investors are now ashing in. vigils have been held across the indian capital in memory of a student who died after she was gang raped on a bus exactly a year ago. the incident prompted protests across the country and led to tougher laws on rape and fast-track courts to try suspects. but many believe that in reality, little has changed there.
>> lighting a candle in memory of the woman they call india's braveheart. the 23-year-old who died last year after being gang raped. an assault so brutal it shocked india. and triggered a debate on the treatment of women. this is one of several vigils and protests that have taken place across india to mark this day. they're calling it the december revolution, asking for india to be made completely free of rape. and in the banner behind semia map of india with the number of reported rape cases every day. the most telling statistic of all, every 20 minutes somewhere in india, a woman gets raped. a year later, this issue is on women's safety. but also a feeling that not that much has changed. >> i feel unsafe. i want to feel safe. >> nothing has changed. women have started coming
forward that they are being harassed and molested all over the place. >> it was onboard this bus that the young woman was assaulted. she'd been out with a friend and was headed home when she was attacked. her death led to an outpouring of anger as ordinary indians took to the streets. the unprecedented waive of protests forced -- wave of protests forced the government to bring in stronger antirape laws. but many believe that although the law has changed, attitudes towards women haven't. >> this month uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana. but it was two american states that led the way a year ago when voters of colorado and washington state forced the
legalization of cannabis for recreational use. so, how do you take an illegal drug and turn it into a new, legal, tax-generating industry? the bb has been to washington to find out. >> in the shadow of seattle's land mark space tower, something very futuristic is happening inside the white tent. >> could this get any better? >> this is what legalized recreational cannabis looks like. it's a party to celebrate 12012 months of legal marijuana -- 12 months of legal marijuana and it's the first time the city has give an permit for people to smoke like this in public. >> there's a lot more to this than just letting people have been smoking dope suddenly start doing it legally. it costs a huge amount of money to keep tens of thousands of people in prison because of marijuana offenses. more than half of america already supports legalization. let's face it, which state wouldn't want the taxes? a multibillion dollar industry is growing out of what they call the green revolution. there are licensed producers, distributors and retailers, but
it's complicated because the u.s. federal government still considers it a category one controlled substance. like haren or cocaine. so they can't use banks. >> an industry that is cash-only. and really to get this out of the black market, put some legitimacy around it, you really need the banking industry to hold onto this, you know, for loans, for security of purchases. >> this particular strain is really great for a variety of things. headaches, cramps, stomach-soothing type things. anything with pain. >> can you make a comparison between this and alcohol in terms of strength? >> yes. so these are going to be more like a light beer. this is going to be more like a whissky. >> angel swanson used to be avidly anticannabis but now keeps medical marijuana products. as soon as her license comes
through, she'll be selling it for recreational use as well. >> i believe sincerely that it can be both things. i wasn't there before, i am now. i think this is a money maker. i think that -- i have six or seven people a day whoy are not patients who come into my shop, when can you sell to me? >> bringing cannabis out into the open, testing and labeling its purity and strength, following it from seed to sale means people now know what they're taking. dangerous solvents or bacteria are easily spotted in the lab. researchers contest its long-term impacts. legalization and legal loopholes are attracting all sorts of investors. >> we used to fly drug interdiction flights in this airplane. >> jim used to fly for the navy, chasing drug shipments along the west coast of america. he'd never touched drugs and even voted against legalization but then realized there was money in it. >> never occurred to me that i would be an invester in this industry when at the time, we
were trying to put the people in jail. the irony of that, the supreme irony of that just cannot be missed. >> security systems, software to help businesses keep track of tax, jim's found a whole variety of new investment opportunities. >> when i loan money i earn at least 18% return and my bank is paying me 1%. my investments in these two startup companies i expect to make anywhere from 10 to 100 times my money back on those if i'm successful. >> washington state has had a liberal approach to marijuana for the past decade. when police in seattle reclassified it as the lowest priority. >> we are, whether we want to be or not, on the forefront of somewhat of a -- if not a revolution, at least a pretty quickly moving evolution. and we don't know where we're going to be in a year, let alone five years. >> the green revolution has its
teething problems. the sale price needs to be just right. if it's too cheap or expensive, it could spark a legal trade over state borders. >> the big challenge is preventing a big increase in drug abuse giving that you're making a drug cheaper and easily available, i'm taking away the legal and social stigma. and that's going to have to be addressed. >> over half of americans now support legalization. medical marijuana will soon be allowed in more states than not. big changes in the country that began the war on drigs. -- drugs. >> a cultural shift that is happening very fast in this country. this weekend, the acting world lost two greats. first came the news of peter o'toole's death and tributes to the "lawrence of arabia" star poored in. then we learned that actress joan fontaine died on sunday at 96. she was best known for her roles in "rebecca" and
"suspicion" for which she won an oscar. e look back now at her career. >> i think i'll take the shortcut. >> alfred hitchcock's "suspicion" in which joan fontaine played the timid newlywed whose husband might or might not have been trying to kill her. >> i don't understand men like you. always giving this feeling that you're laughing at me. >> her co-star was ker grant but it was joan who wons a on cass for her performance. she game a star a year before in "rebecca," another hitchcock fill billion another timid d.c. film about another timid wife. >> are you all right? >> right, you are. >> she flourished in the black and white hay day of the holiday melo drama. there was a touch of melo drama about her family life as well. her older sister was also a star and they weren't friends. joan on the right, olivia next
to her. but she couldn't remember a single act of kind innocence their childhood. >> our family are all ac centric. my father was ac centric. my mother was a very positive and definite person and my sister and i are definite positive people. you put that together and you are bound to have differences of opinion. you just have to. we are not passive people in any way. what a delicious souflee. is this the work of your new chef? >> she went on making films until the 1960's, then quit for television and broadway. the young joan fontaine had been one of hollywood's most appealing stars. beautiful, vulnerable, stylish and believable. however mellowdramatic the films. >> remembering joan fontaine. thanks so much for watching. please tune in tomorrow.
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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: a federal judge ruled today the national security agency's bulk collection of phone records is likely unconstitutional. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this monday, the ongoing push to curb gun violence as the deaths, the injuries, and the incidents continue to mount. >> ♪ i bet there's rich folks eatin' in a fancy dinin' car ♪ >> woodruff: and we close with a look at the man in black with a new biography on the storied life of johnny cash. >> his mission was to lift people's spirits the way his spirits had been lifted as a child. >> woodruff: those are just s